Sunday, November 21, 2010

Explication of "The Raven"

Literal Meaning:
Once, late at night, I was thinking about the old, forgotten tales I used to read. As I was nearing sleep, I heard a noise from the door. I shrugged it off, thinking it was only someone at the door, nothing else. It was in the dismal December. The fire was burning only embers. I longed for it to be morning again. Unsuccessfully, I had searched for a way to end the sorrow over my lost love, Lenore, the beautiful woman whom the angels gave name, now without a name. As the breeze russled the purple curtains, I was thrilled - full of such terror I had never felt before. I was so scared that I simply stood there repeating "It's only someone knocking at the door just really late. It's nothing." As I repeated this, I grew more and more confident and said aloud, "Sir or Madam, I am very sorry, but I was just trying to sleep when you came knocking. It was so quiet I was not sure if someone was there." Here, i opened the door wide to find nothing there, only darkness. For what seemed like an eternity, I stood there looking into the darkness, wondering, fearing, and doubting anyone ever being there. Dreams no one should ever have came into my mind. Still, the silence and darkness from outside the room remained. I quietly whispered the word "Lenore," and all I heard was the echo in receipt. All my soul turned with me to go back to bed, but I heard another tapping, this one slightly louder than the last. I said, "surely, surely that is someone at the window. I will explore this mystery and calm myself down. It must just be the wind - nothing else." I flung open the shutters, and a dignified raven stepped into the window. He made no acknowledgement of my presence. He flew up to a perch above my door. I smiled at the bird. Because of the dark dignification of appearance it gave me, I asked it, "Even though your feathers are so beautiful, are you sure you are no coward? You old, unsightly raven, tell me your name." The raven said, "Nevermore." I was so surprised to hear the bird speak, though it spoke little and gave even less information, considering that probably no one has ever had a bird over their door with the name "Nevermore." Still, the bird spoke only that one word, like he were pooring out his soul into that one word. He did nothing until I finally said, "Other friends have come before, but he will leave by the morning, like my hopes have gone before." Then, the bird said, "Nevermore." Startled that the bird replied, I said, "Obviously, that is the only word it can say. He must have been trained by someone to say only 'nevermore.'" Still, however, the raven made me smile. Quickly, I turned a cushioned seat to face the bird. Sitting down on it, I began thinking what the bird could mean by saying "nevermore." As i guessed, the raven gave no hint as to what it could be. I sat easily in the velvet chair, continuing to ponder what the bird could have meant. Then, I felt the air grow heavier. I cried, "You are dispicable! God has sent you to make me forget my loving memories of Lenore! Drink, oh drink, this kind forgetful drink, and forget my lovely Lenore!" The raven replied, "Nevermore." "You evil prophet, being from God or the Devil! Whether the tempter sent you or tossed you aside here, tell me honestly, is there balm in Gilead?" The raven, again, simply replied, "Nevermore." "Prophet," I exclaimed, "being of bird or Devil, tell me if in the near future I shall hold a beautiful woman whom the angels have named Lenore!" Again, the raven replied only the word, "Nevermore." "Fine!, then! Make that our final words spoken!" I screamed angrily. "Get out of my room! Leave no trace of your being here! Get out!" "Nevermore," spoke the raven, calmly. Still, the raven sat there atop my door, without moving and inch, his eyes appearing to be dreaming the dream of a demon. And, the light above him throws his shadow onto the floor, along with my soul, which shall be lifted off the floor nevermore.

Poetic Devices:
The first, and probably most obvious, example of a poetic device is the rhyme at the ends of each line with other lines. Also, there is rhyme within the lines. Also, there is a lot of repitition because of the word "nevermore" that the raven repeats. Next, the raven could be symbolic of death or the Devil. Then, Poe personifies the raven by giving it the ability to speak. Finally, there is a small amount of alliteration.

Figurative Meaning:
As the poem opens, the main character is mourning the loss of his late wife and beloved, Lenore, late at night. Suddenly, there is a sound at the door, but no one is there. Then, there is a sound at the window, and when he opens it, a raven flies into the room. Since he was just thinking about Lenore, he suspects the raven was brought to him to distract him from such sad thoughts. For some reason, the character asks the raven questions about his lost love. When the bird replies only with the word "Nevermore," he interpreted it as saying that his love shall never return to him. When the raven does not leave after the character had ordered it to, he assumes it means his long to have his Lenore again will never go away.

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